by Jason LaFleur, Alliance for Environmental Sustainability OAK PARK, IL – The home at 1135 North Grove has earned LEED Platinum certification by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) for achievement in green homebuilding and design. It is the first residence in Oak Park to receive LEED certification.
LEED for Homes is a green home certification system for assuring homes are designed and built to be energy- and resource-efficient and healthy for occupants. LEED certified homes complete a technically rigorous process that includes a home energy (HERS) rating and onsite inspections to verify that the home is built to be energy and water efficient, environmentally sound, and a healthier place to live. 1135 North Grove reduces energy use 66% below the typical new home built to code.
The four bedroom project features low-e argon windows, high efficiency lighting fixtures, detailed attention to preventing air leakage, and blown-in fiberglass insulation. Other energy efficiency upgrades include a geothermal heating system which also provides most hot water heat, and a rarely-used backup electric water heater. An ultra-efficient electric induction cooktop is used in the kitchen. The roof angle was optimized for solar panels which produce electricity to power the home, without visually disturbing the home’s facade.
“As a LEED Platinum home, 1135 North Grove is at the national forefront of green homes, and serves as a model of healthy and efficient living for the entire community,” said Jason La Fleur, Regional Director for the Alliance for Environmental Sustainability, who also served as the third-party verifier for the project. “Their example can help us all to live better by reducing our environmental footprint, cutting the costs of our utility bills, and coming home to a healthier place to live.” La Fleur is hosting a free webinar on May 14 for those interested in learning more about LEED homes.
Located in one of the “Top 10 Neighborhoods in the Nation” according to the American Planning Association, the home features a very walk-friendly location in the heart of a neighborhood with many historic homes designed by notable architects.
Homeowner Tim Carey says, “Fitting a new construction home into a historic neighborhood creates a challenge for designers and builders. This project demonstrates that you can build a beautiful, traditional looking home, with a green design and features, yet keep with the character of an established community such as Oak Park.”
As a result of incorporating energy saving products and technologies, 1135 North Grove has achieved an impressively low 34 Home Energy Rating System (HERS) score. Additionally, the combination of electric using-and-producing systems at 1135 North Grove has resulted in affordable energy bills for the homeowners who have been living in the home for a full year. The house has had modestly low electricity bills, and as an all-electric home no natural gas is used, so there are no natural gas bills.
A heat recovery ventilator provides fresh air distributed throughout the home to keep it healthy for the homeowners and recovering some of the energy used to condition the air. Low VOC (volatile organic compounds) paint and locally sourced materials have been used throughout the house. Proving building green can be done affordably, 1135 North Grove was built with a total construction cost of $145 per square foot after renewable energy incentives, below the Chicagoland average construction cost for custom new homes.
1135 North Grove is one of 40 homes in Chicagoland that have been certified using LEED (view the LEED Project Profile). The single-family home was built by Wicklow Development Group, known for their expertise in green building and historic preservation. Through their commitment to green homebuilding, Wicklow Development Group is helping to keep homeownership affordable. Green homes have substantially lower utility bills and may qualify for advantageous financing, lower insurance rates and government incentives.
The Alliance for Environmental Sustainability (AES) is a non-profit organization with a mission of providing sustainable building education to the general public and building industry. AES provides education and technical assistance with residential green building projects in communities across the Midwest. For more information, please visit www.alliancees.org
About LEED® for Homes
LEED® for Homes is a third-party certification system for building and designing high-performance green homes that are energy-and-resource-efficient and healthy for its occupants. Developed and administered by USGBC, LEED for Homes awards points to projects in eight categories of environmental performance: Innovation & Design Process, Location & Linkages, Sustainable Sites, Water Efficiency, Indoor Environmental Quality, Energy & Atmosphere, Materials & Resources, and Awareness & Education. To date, more than 2,200 homes have been LEED-certified, and over 14,600 are registered and under development. For more information and guidance on greening your home, visit www.thegreenhomeguide.org.
About Wicklow Development Group
The Wicklow Development Group LLC are landmark building and restoration professionals, and have been a Chicagoland builder for over 25 years with a passion for historic preservation and green building expertise. For more information, contact Paul Wicklow 708-351-9683, or visit www.wicklowdevelopmentgroup.com/greenhome.
 U.S. Environmental Protection Agency ENERGY STAR (2007). Residential Home Improvement: An Overview of Energy Use and Energy Efficient Opportunities (August 2007).